Of the 48 million Americans for whom hearing is a daily challenge, many will be traveling throughout the holiday season to visit loved ones and friends across the country. Holiday travel usually includes settings such as parties, shopping malls, and airports. Those affected by hearing loss find it most challenging to clearly understand conversations and voices directed to them. While the crowds and background interference may be inevitable, here are a few tips or maintaining the best possible hearing conditions while staying safe during you or your family’s holiday travels.

1. Ask for advice from your hearing health professional.

Even if you already wear a hearing aid and aren’t scheduled for an office visit any time soon, see if you can talk briefly with your doctor to see if there’s anything additional they can do for your hearing needs while traveling. Describe the settings you will be encountering and the activities in which you will be engaging to give them a better idea of how your hearing needs may temporarily change. A professional may be able to adjust your hearing device’s settings to accommodate for increased background noise, provide you with an assistive device to help you better hear conversations in a noisy vehicle, or deal with other situations that could hinder you or place you in danger.

2. Ask your transportation service about hearing-assistive service they offer.

Contact the transportation service at least a few weeks before you plan to travel. They will have information on any other closed-circuit hearing systems you can tap into with your assistive devices while in airports, terminals, and during flights so you’ll know what to expect and what to bring.

3. Wear your hearing aid through security, and don’t feel obligated to turn it off in-flight.

If you’ve never flown before, you might not know that you can wear your hearing aid through security checkpoints. Placing it in a bin to go through separately is unnecessary. Also, when the flight attendant asks all passengers to ‘turn off electronic devices,’ your hearing aid is not considered one of them.

4. Don’t forget important accessories for your hearing aid.

Your hearing is vital during any type of travel, so be sure you have the following securely packed in your bags:

  • Extra batteries
  • Your cleaning kit and dehumidifier
  • Assistive listening devices you’ll need
  • Accessories, including water-resistant gear

5. Practice safe vehicle travel.

If you’re driving, you may want to invest in extra-wide rear-view mirrors to compensate for hearing-based environmental alerts. Don’t become distracted with written communication while you’re driving, such as GPS navigation, text messages, or smartphone notifications (a safe practice for any driver).